Roehl's Guide to Finding A Parking Spot at a Truck Stop
Truck parking (and often truck stop parking) is one of the top concerns for professional truck drivers, according to the ATRI (American Transportation Research Institute). Finding a safe place to stop and rest is critical for drivers, and yet there are limited truck stops and limited parking in those truck stops. This is a nationwide issue, says Brian Hammond, Roehl Transport’s Director Orientation & Driver Development.
The ATRI with the University of Minnesota released two recent studies highlighting “commercial heavy vehicle (CHV) drivers are required under federal Hours of Services (HOS) rules to rest and take breaks to reduce driving while fatigued” and that “CHV drivers and operators must balance compliance to the HOS rules against on-time delivery requirements as well as shorter lead times to plan their trips, thereby making location and parking availability of rest area facilities more critical. Without timely, accurate parking availability information, drivers are left with the dilemma of continuing to drive fatigued, drive beyond HOS CHV operation limits, or park illegally on highway shoulders or ramps—all potential safety hazards.”
Roehl’s Hammond offers the following suggestions when looking for parking. First, professional drivers already know that proper and effective trip planning is critical to a driver’s job. By planning ahead so you know where you are going to stop and having a back-up parking option, you can greatly increase your chance of finding a parking spot.
Truck stop apps and truck stop directories are online resources available to help truck drivers locate places to stop. Hammond notes that Roehl provides a printed copy of the National Truck Stop Directory (aka The Trucker’s Friend) to every new student/inexperienced truck driver and to those drivers who’ve chosen to be paid while they get their CDL at Roehl. The truck stop directories provide rich details about what you’ll see when you find a truck stop: from amenities like showers, ATMs, Western Union to the size of the truck stop, whether it has a paved parking lot or gravel. Additionally, many national truck stop chains offer their own app for finding parking – some are now offering real time parking spot available and even booking.
While a truck stop locator app might seem like the solution, Hammond also said that, when trip planning, do leave yourself additional time. If you have to be shut down by 7 pm, running until 6:45 pm is not a good idea. Again, proper trip planning is the answer; just because you can use an app to find a parking spot doesn’t mean that there won’t be complications.
Hammond added that once you’ve gotten to a truck stop, there are a few more things you can do to be successful. First, don’t park on ends of rows. By finding a less travelled or more interior parking spot, you’re more likely to avoid damage and to be parked-in when you get ready to leave – both of which will have an impact on your ability to do your job successfully.
So, whether you use a truck stop locator app, a truck stop parking app or the printed directory, finding safe, legal parking continues to be a challenge for truck drivers that can be off-set by proper trip planning.